10 awesome Jane Austen comebacks to use in everyday conversation | Virgin Media
10 awesome Jane Austen comebacks to use in everyday conversation

10 awesome Jane Austen comebacks to use in everyday conversation



One of the many charms of Jane Austen movie adaptations is their sparkling dialogue. After all, Austen’s polite 19th century vernacular has the unquestioned benefit of making zingers sound all the better. What better way to stick it up to someone, conversationally, than do it in style? The film Love & Friendship, an adaptation of the author’s novella Lady Susan, is simply replete with delicious one-liners. In honour of its release on Virgin Movies, we kindly offer you a selection of Austen films’ best repartees, all usable in everyday conversation:


1. Oh you take delight in vexing me (Pride & Prejudice, 1995)

Who said it: Ms Bennet, the mother of protagonist Elisabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. The lady is perpetually worried about marrying off her daughters, something her husband teases her about ceaselessly. He really has no consideration for her poor nerves.

When to use it: Pretty much whenever someone is deliberately annoying you.

2. Everybody behave naturally (Pride & Prejudice, 2005)

Who said it: The very same Ms Bennet (she’s quite the conversationalist). When she exclaims this, she’s just heard that the eligible bachelors of the neighbourhood are at the door. So, of course, no one is behaving anything like naturally.

When to use it: Ironically, just like Mrs Bennet. In other words whenever everyone is behaving anything but naturally.


3. My affection and wishes are unchanged (Pride & Prejudice, 1995)

Who said it: Mr Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet’s dashing and broody love interest. He says this in his second - and successful proposal to our beloved main character. It pretty much means - ‘I still dig you’.

When to use it: Sure, you could use this in a romantic situation if you’re professing your love a second time round. But it’s much more fun to declaim in response to requests to do chores (‘my affections and wishes are unchanged’ =  you still don’t want to do them).


4. Can you expect me to rejoice in the inferiority of your circumstances? (Pride & Prejudice, 2005)

Who said it: Mr Darcy again, when he first proposes to Elizabeth. Let’s just say that this comment, among others, makes her more than angry - and kinda explains why she said no.

When to use it: It’s a perfect phrase for when you hear a friend complaining about their hangover. Though they might just hate you a little bit afterwards.


5. Who cares for colds when there is such a man (Sense and Sensibility, 1995)

Who said it: Marianne Dashwood, who is head over heels over her encounter with the handsome John Willoughby. Alas, the gentleman turns out to have a less than reputable character.

When to use it: In the unfortunate and improbable circumstance of having caught the flu and just after meeting the love of your life. Or to make light of being ill whenever you’ve got something important to do.

6. Facts are horrid things (Love and Friendship, 2016)

Who said it: Lady Susan Vernon, a scheming widow trying to marry her daughter off to the highest bidder. (Yeah, there’s a bit of a theme to these Austen stories). This time around one of her evil plans has just been foiled.

When to use it: Whenever someone catches you lying.


7. How dare you address me sir (Love and Friendship, 2016)

Who said it: Susan Vernon strikes back! In this occasion she’s brusquely sending off an acquaintance she doesn’t feel like talking to.

When to use it: To ward off in style anyone you don’t want to converse with.

Love and Friendship is available now on Virgin Movies


8. As if!  (Clueless, 1995)

Who said it: Cher Horowitz, the heroine of Clueless. Yeah, we know we mentioned the glories of 19th century language above, but the film is after all based on Austen’s novel Emma. And this was just too good to miss!

When to use it:  Whenever someone suggests doing something you don’t want to do. And like Cher, you can use it to fend off unwanted advances too.


9. No life without wife (Bride and Prejudice, 2004)

Who said it: Mr Kholi, aka the smarmy Mr Collins in this Bollywood version of Pride and Prejudice. No ‘life without wife’ is, sadly, his catchphrase. He’s set his eyes on Lalita (Elizabeth) for a bride, and she and his sisters make fun of him in this song.

When to use it: To annoy anyone who isn’t married. Or, if you are a wife, to gently remind your partner of how awesome you are.


10. My daughters were trained for battle sir (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, 2016)

Who said it: Mr Bennet, in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. In this version of the classic tale, the Bennet sisters live in a world overrun by the undead, and have to face them periodically in battle.

When to use it: To your teenager’s new date? Okay, erm, we actually don’t know. We just thought it sounded super-cool. 

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is available now on Virgin Movies

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